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The Deep Soak
31 July 2019

The Deep Soak
31 July 2019

The Deep Soak

Oh it's so good to be home!

I'm recently returned from a week in Santa Fe, taking the third and last session to complete training and certification in SATYA (sensory awareness training for yoga attunement) with Tias Little of Prajna Yoga. If you've been to my classes much in the past several months, you've probably experienced some of this work (sliding/gliding/rocking around on a blanket for the first few minutes of class). This somatic, floor-based movement is a potent format for experiencing Samapatti, or the "deep soak" of inward absorption.

In Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Samapatti is presented as a state of deep, engaged absorption. It is a process that is explored before one reaches Samadhi, or ultimate enlightenment.


With Samapatti, we are in a state of awareness where all the experiences of life that are proximal to us—the smell of a flower, the warmth of sunlight—give us a deeper experience of themselves, the objects of the world, when our minds are freed of distractions. With mind and body clear and free of obstructions we are truly receptive to the objects and experiences around us. Through the process of Samapatti we receive a deeper and richer appreciation for our yoga practices sure, but also for our very lives.


Which brings me to SATYA. SATYA is essentially a deep listening, subtle-body training practice. Slowing movements allows people to connect to their own deep interior wilderness.  If Samapatti is the yoga of dissolution, dissolving anxiety, strain, agitation etc., our focus with SATYA is dissolution of strain out of the body. It is a "listening" practice because we drop in by connecting to internal "sounds" and are guided vocally by the instructor, much as one is guided in Yoga Nidra. The first sound we tune into is of the breath. Next, the heartbeat, arterial pulsation, then the vibration of the nervous system. This "yoga of sound" is really the yoga of observing internal sensation.
 
Samapatti comes about through this connection to the ear and its attunement to subtle sound. The ear is the gateway to the sacred space of the prana. We don’t use our eyes to pick up cues in SATYA practice because sound is more ephemeral than visual impressions on the brain; the ears are more geared to the subtle body. Yogically speaking, the eyes govern asana (physical postures) and the ears govern pranayama (energy work through working with the breath).

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From a student:

"What I love about SATYA is that it provides the space and intention for me to slow down enough to really feel what is going on in my back, hips, and shoulders.  I discover spots that feel really good, and others that feel not so good.  What I learn about my body in SATYA allows me to investigate those areas more closely in the rest of my yoga practice.
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Sometimes a super strong physical yoga practice can override the innate intelligence of the subtle body. We come to the mat and throw at it everything we've got, but we don't really feel what's happening.
Speed and acceleration get trapped in the body and we numb out. We develop a kind of sensory amnesia.

This practice, where we begin in silence and first empty all effort from the body, guides us toward Samapatti by shifting into the parasympathetic nervous system. By dropping into subtle body experience through very small, subtle movement, and being prompted to regularly notice felt sensation and feedback, we attune inward and fall into the more primitive, back brain. In supporting the back brain we are supporting the basal functions of breath, heart rate, digestion etc. that govern our most basic functions.


My own experience has been a profound shift toward more authentic connection to what I am doing, on and off the mat. When I do even 15 minutes of SATYA, the vinyasa or hatha practice that follows is just richer, deeper, more "felt". Additionally, it is an effective "warm up" for tight, restricted muscles. My final Savasana is a true soaking in.

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From a student:

"We slow down, quiet down, eliminate distraction, and listen to our being in the practice...
I’m so grateful to accept the generosity with which this practice is offered."

 
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In the Fall I will offer a class up here in Thetford, offered in a 5-week series, that will combine about 45 minutes of SATYA movement with (depending on the week) pranayama, meditation, and some intermediate asana work. If you are interested in diving into this rich practice, stay tuned. The series will be limited to 10 people to make sure everyone has enough floor space. If the series doesn't fill, drop-in spots will be available on a first come basis. Though I am still playing with times, it will likely be offered Saturday late afternoons. Because we will also be exploring seated pranayama and meditation, I will ask that students have at least one year of dedicated yoga practice.

I hope to have it on the schedule and registration open within a week or two. Check the website often for more info. Questions? Be in touch.


Love,
Leslie

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ACCOMMODATIONS:

The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.

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GUIDELINES FOR PRACTICE

Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent

People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.

Wear comfortable clothing

Not so tight it binds, not so loose it gets in your way. And please do not wear clothes that “gap” and are inappropriately revealing.

Practice on an empty stomach

If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.

No food or outside beverages inside the studio

If necessary, bottled water is okay, but remember we are trying to generate internal heat; constant sipping cools the body. After practice, drink plenty of pure water.

Bring your own mat

Shared mats are not hygienic; you may borrow one from us if one is available, until you are able to purchase your own, but please clean it afterward with the mat wipes provided. Please understand mats may be borrowed on a first come basis….we have only a few to borrow, and do occasionally run out of them.

Keep your eyes on your own practice

The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.

Be kind and loving to yourself

Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!

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